The Christian Writers Institute was created to help Christians become proficient in the skills, craft, and business of writing. To build the Kingdom of God word-by-word. It does so by providing a wide variety of courses taught by some of the industry’s best teachers. In addition, the Institute publishes a number of books on writing for writers, including The Christian Writers Market Guide. Originally founded in 1945, it is estimated that over 30,000 students have been trained by the Christian Writers Institute. See more on our history below.
The History of The Christian Writers Institute
The Christian Writers Institute was founded by Robert Walker in 1945. Walker was also active in founding many Christian organizations like the Evangelical Press Association (EPA), the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). In the mid-1950s Walker launched Christian Bookseller, the first trade magazine targeting religious book retailers (it later became Christian Retailing).
When he passed away in 2008 it was said that Robert Walker “was a giant in our industry.” Doug Trouten, executive director of the Evangelical Press Association, said, “The Christian journalism world has grown significantly since those early days, but only because we stand on the shoulders of giants like Bob Walker.”
His legacy was enormous. For ten years (1941-1951) he was an assistant professor at Wheaton College where he developed their journalism program. During this time, he helped publish HIS, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s first magazine.
Walker took over the national magazine Church School Promoter and renamed it Sunday in 1943. In fact it was in that magazine where Walker published the first national story on Billy Graham. In 1948, Walker merged Sunday and Christian Life & Times, after acquiring it from a friend, into Christian Life which remained influential for many decades. In 1986 it merged with Charisma magazine where it was the flagship publication of Strang Communications. Walker mentored Stephen Strang, now president of Strang Communications. “Beyond all his accomplishments, Bob Walker was a deeply spiritual man, who lived a life of utmost integrity,” Strang said. “He impacted the lives of millions and will continue to through the publications he founded.”
As mentioned, Walker was also active in the founding of many organizations, including the EPA, CBN, Christian Life Missions (which he created to help missionaries), and the Christian Booksellers Association. Walker launched Christian Bookseller, the first trade magazine targeting religious book retailers (it later became Christian Retailing). He also started Creation House, which published A New Song by Pat Boone in 1970. “He was an incredible man,” Boone said. “There was an Old Testament quality to him, like I was talking to a modern Gideon or one of the patriarchs.”
In 1998 Stephen Strang sold the Christian Writers Institute to Reg Forder, the founder of The American Christian Writers. For more than 30 years he has conducted hundreds of writers’ conferences, seminars and mentoring retreats in over 50 cities across the United States. Reg is a member of the Evangelical Press Association, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and Global Network of Christian Ministries.
In 2016 Reg Forder agreed to sell the ownership of the Christian Writers Institute to Steve Laube, who has significantly expanded the offerings and moved it online.
Steve Laube is a literary agent, the President of The Christian Writers Institute, and a nearly 40-year veteran of the industry. He began his career as a bookseller where his store was named the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) store of the year. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers rising to the position of an editorial director. During that time he was honored as the AWSA Golden Scroll Editor of the Year.
Then he became a literary agent and in 2004 formed The Steve Laube Agency. In 2009 he was named the ACFW Agent of the Year. In addition, he was inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall-of-Fame by their College of Theology. He also owns and operates Enclave Publishing.
He is married with three grown children and two grandchildren.
Thomas Umstattd Jr.
Thomas Umstattd, our Vice-President, is an award-winning speaker, author, and podcaster. He has taught at writers conferences across the U.S. and also internationally.
He lives in Austin, TX with his beautiful wife and two children.
Bob Hostetler, our Executive Editor, is a thirty-year veteran of Christian publishing. He has been a writer, magazine editor, freelance book editor, and author of fifty books, both fiction and non-fiction. A frequent speaker at writers conferences and retreats around the world, he has encouraged and coached numerous writers to publishing success.
He is also a literary agent for The Steve Laube Agency.
Bob is an Ohio native with earned degrees in English Bible from Cincinnati Christian University and English Communications from Bloomfield College. He was ordained to the ministry by The Salvation Army.
He has been married for forty years to the lovely Robin, his teenage sweetheart and ministry partner; together they have pastored four churches (though not all at once) and were foster parents to ten teen boys (though not all at once). They make their home in the Las Vegas area. They have two adult children and five grandchildren.
Laurie Christine Ressler lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband and four young boys. She understands how important it is for parents to connect with their children, while communicating the truth of God’s Word to them in a way they can understand. With degrees in Creative Writing, Biblical Studies and Education, Laurie has more than twelve years of experience in teaching the Bible to young children, as well as writing Sunday School curriculum for her local church.
Laurie has written several collections of devotional Bible stories for families of elementary-age children. Her passion is to equip parents with the resources they need to create meaningful connections with their children in an atmosphere that cultivates heart-change.